Cielito Restaurant
Cielito Restaurant

Cielito Restaurant

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.cielitorestaurant.com/
  • Phone: 8059654770x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch:
    Tuesday - Sunday 11:30am - 2:30pm

    Happy Hour:
    Tuesday -Thursday & Sunday 5:00pm-7:00pm
    Friday & Saturday, 4:00pm - 7:00pm

    Dinner:
    Tuesday - Thursday & Sunday 5:00pm - 9:00pm
    Friday & Saturday 5:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood, Mexican, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Damon Murphy
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: From intimate to expansive, Cielito has the perfect space - and menu - for all your Corporate and Private Dining Events. Please see http://cielitorestaurant.com/private-dining for more information!
  • Private Party Contact: Cynthia Beard 8889825066
  • Entertainment: Join us for live music every Sunday and Tuesday night from 5-8pm!
  • Special Events: From an outdoor lunch on a beautiful private patio, to intimate dining areas on the mezzanine level of the restaurant, Cielito offers many ways to create a beautiful and memorable private party or event. Please see http://cielitorestaurant.com/private-dining for more information!

Getting there

  • Cross Street: W. Anapamu St.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Public Parking Lot behind the restaurant on Anacapa Street and Figueroa Street
A word from Cielito Restaurant
The core of Cielito’s vision is to bring the rich flavors of authentic, regional Mexican and Latin American cuisine to our Santa Barbara community. Drawing inspiration from decades of culinary vision and customs, chef Damon Murphy and his team awaken tradition while utilizing the freshest of seasonal ingredients that our area has to offer. Cielito features a mouthwatering Tequila bar with enticing libations and innovative cocktails as well as a wide selection of Tequilas and Mezcals. The elegant décor and sophisticated style of Cielito reflect our mission to provide both Santa Barbara locals and visitors with an unparalleled and memorable dining experience.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
  • Diners' Choice WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
Cielito Restaurant reviews from OpenTable diners
91 reviews since June 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.4
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (63)fit for foodies (57)special occasion (36)good for groups (36)romantic (33)hot spot (29)neighborhood gem (27)vibrant bar scene (26)great for lunch (18)scenic view (9)great for brunch (8)kid-friendly (7)late-night find (6)notable wine list (5)Show More
  • Great place
    tonySRT8VIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    Food was good and service was very good drinks were good hostess very friendly
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still Great
    Waterman
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    We picked Cielito as we are foodies but needed an early dinner for our large party in order to get to a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Cielito was a perfect choice.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mediocre experience
    JennVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We were sadly disappointed with our meal at Cielito which based on the reviews looked like it would be fabulous. We ordered the Tartara De Atun Nikkei (oddly bland for a ceviche with asian flair), Pulpo a La Plancha (octopus soft and lacking in grilled flavor, served over mushy yogurt sauce), and the special duck tostadas (these were good). Compared to the amazing octopus we had at Lark this dish was particularly disappointing.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Arlene
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Wonderful service. The ceviche. Three different types was enough for a meal and by far the best I've ever had. Ordered the duckwich was a lelittle fatty and not hot so a little disappointing. One the whole a lovely meal
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A really fun place !
    funkyVIP
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    The service was excellent! The wait staff was very attentive and kept our table clean, water glasses filled and the delicious chip basket full! The food was amazing! I had the enchiladas, delicious! My husband had the duck and finished every bite. It was very energetic and looked like everyone was having fun!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently great food
    Leslie
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    We have been to Cielito several times and always enjoy taking out of town guests there. The food is consistently excellent. The dishes have unique and delicious flavors. We like sharing several dishes at the table so we can get a taste of everything!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • very good
    pizzaexpertVIP
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    We experimented with new choices and weren't disappointed.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food to truly savor
    SBPat
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    The tapas style "small plates" may appear slight in quantity but the quality and flavors at Cielito are nothing short of amazing. Beautiful presentation enhances the enjoyment of the experience. Three of us shared the guacamole, pork belly "quesadilla" (which looks nothing like what you think of as a quesadilla but is about 3 inches high full of the pork), sopasitas with braised shortrib meat and carnitas tacos. It's the kind of food that makes you crave more. Lovely service, too. We left fully satisfied (=full but not stuffed) and we'll definitely be going back often!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Delicious and Fun - Go! Go! Go!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We began our evening by taking advantage of their wonderful happy hour menu - ceviche, mole with chips, and guacamole. Then we moved into the meals - from seafood enchiladas to chorizo tacos. Everything we touched was absolutely delicious. The food was only made better by attentive and friendly service from the entire waitstaff (beyond just our awesome waiter Chris). It was a lovely evening in a beautiful little hidden corner off Santa Barbara's busy streets. A night we'll remember!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Cielito delivers a great experience
    ksb48VIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We went to Cielito while visiting Santa Barbara for a concert at the Bowl. The restaurant is very well run, staff was knowledgeable and friendly and the food was delicious. The chips were fresh and tasted home made...perfectly salted and crunchy. We shared several dishes and all were fantastic....we will definitely return. The drinks were fun, refreshing and delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Specials Worth Trying
    InveterateFoodie
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    In addition to wonderful tapas items (such as the authentic Peruvian ceviche and the heirloom tomato salad), the special of Mexican sea bass was great. Wine selection was quite good also.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Restaurant, Great Ambiance.
    winetravelerVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    This is an Awesome Restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara! What a find! WE had such a great table next to the fountain. The view was gorgeous. Food was exceptional! Staff Amazing!! We will definitely return on our next trip to Santa Barbara.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • jkwe
    JKWE
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Food was excellent as always, but music too loud for easy conversation and service was slow on this occasion.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ideal for Sharing
    InveterateFoodie
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    The menu at Cielito is ideal for sharing. So it is best for two or more people since then one can share several dishes. The Peruvian style ceviche was delicious and quite authentic. The kale salad was excellent and trendy. The octopus and chicken mole were both very good. An excellent and exciting dinner for two!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A culinary vacation
    Vmi2000
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Latin American Food or what you might call Mexican food has never been done like this before! If you don't know what to get, just ask you waiter what their favs are...you can't go wrong. I was disappointed that I was full because I had to stop eating...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love2eatgoodfood
    Love2eatgoodfoodVIP
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    I love Cielito! The food is amazing and sure puts a gourmet twist on Katin American and Mexican cuisine!Our favorite and a go to every time we dine here are the Enchiladas VerDuras. The best Guacamole ever. The drinks are awesome .. And the European ambiance of their outdoor dining adds that "vacation" feeling. Ashley has waited on us several times and is professional as well as super friendly. Stellar service! One of my favorite places in all of Santa Barbara.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great as usual
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    I don't get to Santa Barbara often, but when I do I seek out Cielito. The food once again did not disappoint! Service this time was average, which was a disappointment given my past superb experiences. Hopefully this is not a trend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious and Romantic Dinner
    Foooodie87
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    My boyfriend and I dined here on a Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary and it was one of the highlights of the trip! The ceviche nikkei was the best we have ever had and we highly recommend it! The flavors are very rich so we opted to split the pork belly quesadilla and the seafood enchiladas; both were amazing. The quesadillas were smaller but loaded with flavor and we had three seafood enchiladas, which were perfect to split. It can be a crowded spot so I recommend reservations on a weekend or busy time. Our server was great and the ambiance is hard to beat! Great spot just off State Street that we plan to try again during a return trip!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • love it
    equiqueen3
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    we love to eat here - food is always great - just a little too pricey to visit very often
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great place
    Bugaboo
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Great place! Fun and funky, fantastic food. A place to go with friends for sure
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Foodie's Mexican restaurant
    IEatSantaBarbara
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Cielito offers really scrumptious, interesting and thoughtful food offerings. I miss the takeaway taco bar they initially opened at lunchtime and later closed, but the same fabulous tacos are available at their sit-down dining on either the outdoor patio or inside the restaurant in a more formal setting. Too costly for every workday eating, unfortunately but very worthy of an occasional celebratory treat. Their lunch margaritas are exceptional and every detail is carefully attended to. I highly recommend when you're in the area to visit the Museum of Art, to shop La Arcada or just in need of a special afternoon off!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mexican food eaten the Spanish way.
    COYS
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    Wonderful taste combinations taken as small plates to share. Strong robust flavours leaving your tastebuds tingling with excitement. Lively atmosphere accompanied by knowledgable service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Service
    Waiting
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    The wait staff were either under staffed or just plain bad. The hostess and manager were great. We were comped an appetizer because we waited so long to be acknowledged when we first sat down. The waiter and busboy seemed bugged whenever we asked for something.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Always terrific
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Whenever we head into Santa Barbara, we always make sure to stop at this restaurant. It has been about two years now, and each time we go, service and food are still consistent. Our waiter was very friendly and took great care of us. This is also one of the few restaurants where the hostess actually acknowledged my open table preferences. Nice touch. Will certainly return. PS>The Filet Mignon is exceptional!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Tapas
    BillWVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The small plates are varied and outstanding. Do not miss the Ceviche Trio. Each was so different from the other and all were amazing. This is a friendly and fun place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always nice but always same table
    Margaret
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    We always have a nice experience here and their service coverage is excellent. This visit coincided with Fiesta so it was understandably crazy. That said, I am puzzled as to why we nearly ALWAYS are given the same table adjacent to the bar which leaves me feeling we are neither in or out of the restaurant. Made reservations 6 weeks ago so it was hardly last minute & we often get this table! The wait staff and management take every opportunity to touch tables which we always appreciate. Ordered the salsas which are the best, Little Gem salad, seafood enchiladas & Enchiladas Verduras, special Margarita & Cielito Margarita. Big difference in taste between the margaritas, the Cielito well worth the price.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    We had great appetizers and drinks, unfortunately it was the first night of fiesta and the mariachis were too loud and didn't leave soon enough, we couldn't hear ourselves speak. Otherwise great spot. Just avoid downtown during fiesta if you want to hear your conversation
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • somethins was off
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Had 8 friends come after not coming for 2 months and the food was bad, Service needed work. Ask waiter help help with the order and she looked lost. Will not come back and bill with tip was over $600
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overpriced and poor food
    foodgeek
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Nothing was quite as good as it sounded -- the chef doesn't have it right. Plus the service was pretty bad -- either overly solicitous or nowhere to be found. And the interior space is cold and forbidding.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Food, Poor Service
    downtownprofessional
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    This restaurant has great food, fresh and very flavorful, good quality. The service is always slow and often unresponsive. I work nearby and go there often hoping it gets better, the servers are not very knowledgeable, they do not refill unless you ask, if you are drinking we all order two drinks at a time because it takes a long time for them to check on the table and bring your order. I call to make resrevations and often the machine answers, not a live person even during business hours. They do not provide take out meals for dinner, I can't imagine why the would decline selling food to customers like this. Often many professionals I work with say we are not going back...we wait a while and then go back because the food is so good.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Hidden Gem
    VC93003VIP
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Had never been to this hidden gem down the side street in SB. Great mexican food with even better atmosphere and service. Will be back!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always awesome
    SB4diningVIP
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Love this place. Whenever our kids are home to visit this is the place they want to eat at first! Great spicy Margaritas. The Ceviche is perfection and the chorizo and cheese with corn tortillas is the best thing EVER! May be a little on the pricey side, but well worth it. I would rather get perfection for a little more money! Servers are attentive. Never had a bad experience here and will eat here on a regular basis! They take reservations, would definately recommend doing so if you don't want to wait.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Maintaing Excellence
    SBPinotFan
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Food is wonderful, innovative, complex. Architecturally stimulating place. Solid wine list even though it's not big. Great drink menu. Outdoor tables like eating in Europe. Service can vary depending on where your table is located relative to both the bar and the kitchen.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fun, oudoor tapas style dining.
    ninny13
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    My daughter and I love ceviche, and this restaurant offered quite a few choices (we ordered 2 different styles and both were fantastic.) Located in outdoor shopping plaza, lots of good people-watching from the outdoor tables. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for in quality and flavor.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A find
    PickyDinerVIP
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    We loved the innovative and tasty food at this nouvelle mexican place. Bills itself as Mexican but I don't think this is the kind of food you'd find in Mexico. Some highlights: octopus perfectly cooked and delicious, chicken with mole sauce divine. Outdoor seating with turtles swimming nearby a special treat for the kids. Would definitely go back when we're in town next.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Welcoming staff
    Crashtestpatti
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    We were early, but no problem they were happy to fit us in. Beautiful patio setting in Spanish style arcade. Delicious food and efficient service.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great ambiance
    Dana
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    We made a reservation for the 4th of July and although there were a lot of people, we were served very quickly. We ate the chicken mole, the tacos al pastor, tacos de costilla and the Ensenada fish tacos. They accommodated my husband wanting his fish tacos with the fish grilled. Lovely time and great food. We liked the beans that came with the tacos; very fresh. The fountain with the turtles was especially pleasing to our daughters who remember this feature from their childhood. Good selection of beer. Chips (totopos) were close to my homemade ones, good job. And no, the guacamole was not overpriced.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Difficult
    Stanley
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Menu was obscure, and went on and on with strange terms. So we just gave up and ordered oddly named tacos and enchiladas, The tacos were bad-tasting and the seafood enchiladas were over-expensive. Then, when the place suggested tips-levels, those reached 30%.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fun food and yummy margaritas
    sariela
    Dined on 7/2/2014
    The size of the tapas was just right as there was enough to share and the flavor combinations worked great. The Huarches de Hongo were my faves. The Cielito Margaraitas are simple but tasty. Just what we were looking for in straightforward margaritas.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    Excellent! Had a multitude of the small plates ( tapas) and all very good to outstanding.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 51 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 234 reviews are from the Cielito Restaurant reviews archive.